Not surprisingly, the analysis finds there would be a large negative environmental impact!
• Due to proposed increased railcar traffic and public concern about AAF impacts to Martin County;
• Fire Rescue Department assessed increased risk and gaps in capabilities;
• Displays of a rail car crash at a crossing and potential release of chemical;
• Utilizes three intersections, but can occur anywhere on railroad.
• Risk exists today but potential will increase;
• Unquantifiable increase in potential;- Up to a 300% increase in trains at our 28 crossings;
• 43% increase in freight trains (1.5 miles in length);
• 32 high-speed passenger trains;
• Potential to rapidly exceed the public safety response system:
– Mass casualty incident
– Evacuation of population center
– Limited response resources – Large negative environmental impact
Read the report here:
MCFR Analysis of Damaged Rail Cars1
PHILADELPHIA — Daylight on Wednesday revealed the destruction and devastation caused by an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia that left at least six people dead and injured dozens more, several critically.
Some survivors had to scramble through the windows of toppled cars to escape. One of the seven cars was completely mangled.
The accident has closed the nation’s busiest rail corridor between New York and Washington as federal investigators begin sifting through the twisted remains to determine what went wrong.
Train 188, a Northeast Regional, left Washington, D.C. and was headed to New York when it derailed shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. Amtrak said the train was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members.
Mayor Michael Nutter, who confirmed five deaths, said the scene was horrific and not all the people on the train had been accounted for.
Temple University Hospital’s Dr. Herbert Cushing said Wednesday a person died there overnight from a chest injury.
“It is an absolute disastrous mess,” Nutter said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”
He said all seven train cars, including the engine, were in “various stages of disarray.” He said there were cars that were “completely overturned, on their side, ripped apart.”
More than 140 people went to hospitals to be evaluated or treated.
Amtrak said the cause of the derailment was not known and that it was investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration were also dispatching investigators to the site.
Vice News: The United States is churning out more crude oil than it has in nearly three decades. And with pipeline capacity in short supply, producers are turning to America’s rail system to move black gold from the plains of North Dakota and Alberta, Canada to refineries mostly along the East Coast.
But that’s proven to be a dangerous — and sometimes deadly — endeavor.
The number of oil tanker spills in the US reached 141 in 2014, more than five times the annual average for the past three decades, according to data compiled by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, an agency of the Department of Transportation (DOT). And a fiery explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec in July 2013 that killed 47 people highlighted the extraordinary volatility of North American crude oil, which has a much lower threshold for ignition than other types of petroleum products.
As the number of spills and explosions has ticked up, pressure from public safety officials, environmentalists, and local, state, and federal politicians has led the DOT to roll out new oil-by-rail safety regulations, which were released on Friday after months of contentious review and public comment.
“The truth is that 99.9 percent of these shipments reach their destination safely,” DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a press conference announcing the new regulations. “The accidents involving crude and ethanol that have occurred, though, have shown us that 99.9 percent isn’t enough. We have to strive for perfection.”
Despite Foxx’s quest for flawlessness, the rules have been roundly criticized from all sides as lacking in solid analysis of the costs involved in upgrading oil-by-rail standards and the risks that remain even after the department has imposed its most stringent upgrades to date.
Eric de Place, policy director at the Sightline Institute, said the DOT remains out of touch with the risks of transporting hazardous materials by rail, often through densely populated areas.
“I keep hoping that we’re going to at some point enter a world where we have a rational regulatory response to a clear and present danger, like oil trains,” de Place told VICE News. “Instead, we get these incredibly frustrating responses like we got from the DOT on Friday. I think the response is grotesque and not adequate to the task.”
The new rules will cost the industry $2.5 billion over the next two decades, according to DOT estimates.
The American Association of Railroads (AAR) said companies plan to spend $29 billion this year in safety improvements to train cars and tracks, in addition to the $575 billion they’ve spent over the last 30 years. In a statement, AAR said it was “disappointed” in several core elements of the department’s rule and, in one instance, the agency had “no substantial evidence” to support its regulation.
Read the rest of the story online:
BY: Lisa Broadt Trains move more than 380 million gallons of hazardous chemicals through the Treasure Coast each year, bringing with them risks ranging from catastrophic fire to environmental devastation. Soon, however, those chemical cars could be subject to stricter federal
New rules intended to “save lives and homes and protect communities,” announced Friday by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, would require chemical manufacturers to transport flammable products in sturdier, more heat resistant tankers less likely to spill their contents during a derailment. Any of the 25 40,000 gallon tanks of ethanol hauled through the Treasure Coast every day
that is not up to regulations — and most are not, according to DOT — would have to be replaced within 10 years. The “stronger, safer, more robust” tanks likely would create a safer Treasure Coast, according to DOT.
Yet for the next decade, the region will remain at a higher risk for spills of the highly flammable biofuel. Ethanol creates unique dangers for first responders: Not only is it more flammable than gasoline but it also conducts electricity, increasing the risk of ignition and making certain situations, such as downed power lines, especially risky, according to the Renewable Fuels Association Ethanol burns without smoke or visible flame, and because it mixes with water, it can be extinguished only by foam. “Even in well-managed operations, the chance for releases to the environment is present,” the association said in an ethanol guide.
Florida East Coast Railway — which runs freight service between Miami and Jacksonville and within two years would share its rail corridor with All Aboard Florida — is part of a nationwide spike in rail transportation of flammable chemicals such as ethanol and crude oil.
Ethanol makes up a quarter of all hazardous material shipments and demand for the renewable fuel source is expected to increase due to stricter federal energy regulations, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.
As transportation of the corn-based product has increased, so have catastrophic and fatal accidents, according to U.S. DOT. Since FEC began shipping ethanol to the Port Everglades tank facility in 2012, there’s been at least one ethanol-related accident on its tracks. A northbound Norfolk Southern train traveling on the FEC tracks in early 2014 derailed, spilling ethanol and spurring evacuation and a pricey environmental cleanup The DOT’s new rules also would compel FEC to disclose more information to local governments about the products traveling along its 351-mile corridor. FEC already has complied with a DOT order to slow its trains to 40 mph in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and
Jacksonville to meet requirements for large urban areas, according to Robert Ledoux, senior vice president. FEC is trying to mitigate the dangers of ethanol for first responders by removing uncertainty, according to Ledoux.
The company last month developed software — soon to be released — that discloses the contents of every train car and would allow first responders to track their progress in real-time.
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Ethanol transport along Treasure Coast rail corridor faces stricter safety rules – TC Palm
What’s inside those freight tanker cars that roll by our neighborhoods and our schools? Not even first responders can answer that question.
So why is the cargo rolling through in relative secrecy? CBS12 reporter Michael Buczyner talks to city, state and railway officials to get answers:
In recent years, small towns across the United States have begun hosting an increasingly common phenomenon: long trains, made up of 100-plus black cylindrical cars, rolling slowly past our hospitals, schools and homes.
Few who see them know what they carry: highly flammable crude oil from the shale fields around North Dakota.
I live in the Hudson Valley and see these trains daily; Albany is a major hub, and trains traveling south down the Hudson River toward mid-Atlantic refineries hug its shores. Every day on the East Coast, as many as 400,000 barrels of this explosive mixture travel through our backyards over shaky bridges, highways and overpasses.
As this Op-Doc video shows, there are reasons to be very concerned about this increased train traffic, which is directly related to the boom in oil and gas drilling in the Midwest. These trains can be very dangerous, prompting some to call them “bomb trains.” There have already been horrific railway accidents in North America caused when these trains go off the tracks, some of them fatal.
Already this year there have been four serious derailments, resulting in spills, explosions and fires. Safety and Homeland Security officials have mentioned these “rolling bombs” as potential terrorist weapons. And the Department of Transportation has estimated that at this rate there will be 15 major accidents in the United States this year alone. I hope we will do our best to prevent them.